Definition of hit in English:

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Pronunciation: /hɪt/

verb (hits, hitting, hit)

[with object]
1Bring one’s hand or a tool or weapon into contact with (someone or something) quickly and forcefully: Marius hit him in the mouth [no object]: police hit out with truncheons
More example sentences
  • The feel of his boot hitting my side brought pain.
  • She let her gaze rest on the slipper for a moment, then brought it forward and hit it on her head.
  • And if you encounter any Mizaya, remember that the only way you can kill them with your weapons is by hitting them in the eyes.
strike, slap, smack, cuff, punch, beat, thrash, thump, batter, belabour, drub, hook, pound, smash, slam, welt, pummel, hammer, bang, knock, swat, whip, flog, cane, sucker-punch, rain blows on, give someone a (good) beating/drubbing, box someone's ears
informal whack, wallop, bash, biff, bop, clout, clip, clobber, sock, swipe, crown, lick, beat the living daylights out of, give someone a (good) hiding, belt, tan, lay one on, lay into, pitch into, lace into, let someone have it, knock into the middle of next week, lam, whomp, deck, floor
British informal stick one on, dot, slosh, twat, welly
North American informal slug, boff, bust, whale
Australian/New Zealand informal dong, quilt, king-hit
literary smite, swinge
dated baste, buffet, birch
1.1Accidentally strike (part of one’s body) against something, often causing injury: she fainted and hit her head on the metal bedstead
More example sentences
  • Trinity gasped as she sat up, her side hurt from hitting herself in her sleep.
  • I managed to swerve and avoid hitting them but I grazed the bicycle and we all fell.
  • It was so dark out in the halls that he did not see the door and wound up hitting his head against it.
1.2(Of a moving object or body) come into contact with (someone or something stationary) quickly and forcefully: a car hit the barrier
More example sentences
  • It is believed he was hit by a car and fell backwards, suffering serious head injuries which led to his death 10 days later.
  • The sound of a toolbox hitting the ground brought her head back around.
  • The feel of his arm around me as he made sure my feet hit the ground brought me back to a time I missed.
crash into, run into, bang into, smash into, smack into, knock into, bump into, cannon into, plough into, collide with, meet head-on;
North American  impact
North American informal barrel into
1.3 informal Touch or press (part of a machine or other device) in order to work it: he picked up the phone and hit several buttons
More example sentences
  • Thank you to everyone who hit the Laptop Fund Paypal button in the past two weeks.
  • He pulled out two dollars and put it in the machine before hitting the Mountain Dew button.
  • He hit the gate control button and the gate lifted, allowing for the van to pass through.
2Cause harm or distress to: the area has been badly hit by pit closures it hit him very hard when Rosie left
More example sentences
  • I believe the charging regime is hitting local York businesses hard, and have never seen Micklegate so quiet as it has been in recent weeks.
  • News that the property was to be demolished and redeveloped came as a relief to businesses which had been hit by the closure.
  • Clearly, the downward turn in the business cycle is hitting Germany hard.
affect badly, devastate, damage, harm, hurt, ruin, leave a mark on, have a negative effect on, have a negative impact on, do harm to, impinge on;
upset, shatter, crush, shock, overwhelm, traumatize, touch, make suffer
informal knock back, knock for six, knock sideways, knock the stuffing out of
2.1(Of a disaster) occur in and cause damage to (an area) suddenly: the country was hit by a major earthquake
More example sentences
  • The next stop was Seenigama, a small fishing village that was severely hit by the disaster.
  • But on the afternoon of their Edinburgh debut, their show was hit by disaster.
  • What's the pattern of response from government, when disaster hits?
2.2 [no object] Make a strongly worded criticism or attack: he hit out at the club’s decision to place him on the transfer list
More example sentences
  • Police in Swindon have hit back at criticism over rising burglary rates.
  • However, staff have hit back at the criticism saying the pub's business was being affected.
  • Traffic chiefs have hit back at criticism that they are using speed cameras to make money, rather than save lives.
retaliate against, respond to, reply to, react to, strike back at, counter, defend oneself against
rare controvert
criticize, attack, denounce, lash out at, rant at, inveigh against, rail against, fulminate against, run down, find fault with;
condemn, censure, harangue, berate, upbraid, castigate, vilify, malign, assail, lambaste
informal knock, slam, hammer, blast, lay into, pitch into, lace into, bawl out, bad-mouth, tear someone off a strip, give someone hell, give someone a roasting
British informal slate, slag off, monster, have a go at, rubbish
North American informal pummel, cut up
Australian/New Zealand informal bag
dated rate, reprobate
rare vituperate, excoriate, arraign, objurgate, asperse, anathematize, animadvert on, denunciate
2.3 informal, chiefly North American Attack and rob or kill: if they’re cops, maybe it’s not a good idea to have them hit
More example sentences
  • Computer thieves hit Mesh Computers last night and swiped its office admin PCs.
3(Of a missile or a person aiming one) strike (a target): the sniper fired and hit a third man
More example sentences
  • Mr Sykes, 52, an epileptic, was nearly hit by the missiles and later suffered a minor fit he blames on the attack.
  • It had not been hit by a missile either, nor had there been an onboard fire.
  • The missiles hit the target with a force the size of the planet they were orbiting.
3.1Be suddenly and vividly realized by: [with object and clause]: it hit her that I wanted to settle down here
More example sentences
  • Suddenly the realization hits Jake like a ton of bricks - his old nemesis is back to settle one final score.
  • The realization suddenly hit Sahara like a train crashing through a farm house.
  • Realization hit Alsan like a blow as the brigand walked over to the twins' open coffin.
occur to, strike, dawn on, come to;
enter one's head, enter one's mind, cross one's mind, come to mind, spring to mind, flash across one's mind, come into one's consciousness
4 informal Reach (a particular level, point, or figure): capital spending this year is likely to hit $1,800 million his career hit rock bottom
More example sentences
  • Zimbabwe faces its fourth straight year of falling growth, while inflation is likely to hit triple figures.
  • The advent of the free Metro newspapers in the main cities is likely to hit these figures even more.
  • Consumer optimism continues to rise, hitting its highest level since November 2001.
reach, attain, touch, arrive at, get to, rise to, climb to;
achieve, accomplish, gain, secure
4.1Be affected by (an unfortunate and unexpected circumstance or event): the opening of the town centre hit a snag
More example sentences
  • A group were handing out leaflets at the weekend in part of Oldham, hit by recent race riots, when police moved in.
  • The management committee at the St Michael's Centre is understood to have been hit by a massive rent increase.
  • Others report that some of BT's websites have also been hit by the snag.
4.2Arrive at or go to (a place): it was still night when we hit the outskirts of London
More example sentences
  • On Wednesday it's East London's turn and on Thursday the show hits Port Elizabeth.
  • However, he was slightly upstaged by the huge cheer that greeted the first shaft of sunlight to hit Centre Court.
  • The McDonald's travelling caravan hits Montreal this Friday night at the Maurice Richard arena.
4.3(Of a product) become available and make an impact on: the latest board game to hit the market
More example sentences
  • The first revenue from Samba sales began rolling in last month, even before the product hits UK shelves.
  • And the Bill Clinton autobiography hits stores this week.
4.4 [no object] Take effect: we sat waiting for the caffeine to hit
More example sentences
  • He is finding it more and more difficult to walk as the effects of kidney failure hit.
  • Well, that triple dose of antihistamines really hit me on the way home from work last night.
  • I said slowly as I began to feel the first drink hitting me.
4.5Give (someone) a dose of a drug or an alcoholic drink.
Example sentences
  • He might spot them in time to hit me with another dose of the sedative and then I'd be in deep, deep trouble.
4.6Used to convey that someone is engaging in a particular pursuit or activity with enthusiasm: we went to Val d’Isère to hit the shops
More example sentences
  • So after a late lunch at Belgo's, with Ken coming along for a drink, we finally hit Borders.
  • They were hitting this store as quickly as they could to look for those items that they saw advertised.
  • She, Elaina and Lauren had stayed out all night, hitting all the parties on the campus.
5Propel (a ball) with a bat, racket, stick, etc. to score runs or points in a game.
Example sentences
  • Under pressure to hit it quickly, the midfielder boomed his shot high over the crossbar.
  • But Kitna quieted them quickly, hitting his first two passes for 25 yards.
  • Mealey has a knack for hitting the hole quickly and bouncing off defenders.
5.1Score (a run or point) by hitting a ball with a bat, racket, stick, etc. he had hit 25 home runs
More example sentences
  • Most nights, Kent would decline to shake hands when returning to the dugout after scoring a run or hitting a home run.
  • Peter Allen hits a home run off of Carol Channing, scoring two runs.
  • So, if you hit a home run you get one because you have scored.


1An instance of striking or being struck: few structures can withstand a hit from a speeding car
More example sentences
  • He looked up, familiarity striking him like a hit to the head with a blunt object.
  • Instead of a quick hit or slap, we now saw and heard a sustained series of blows.
  • I'd felt several different hits when the horse knocked me down but hadn't really assessed the damage yet.
blow, thump, punch, knock, bang, thwack, box, cuff, slap, smack, spank, tap, crack, stroke, welt;
impact, collision, bump, crash
informal whack, wallop, bash, belt, biff, clout, sock, swipe, clip, clobber
British informal slosh
North American informal boff, bust, slug, whale
Australian/New Zealand  dong
dated buffet
1.1A verbal attack: I think people will try to take a hit at my credibility
jibe, taunt, jeer, sneer, barb, cutting remark, barbed remark, attack, insult
informal dig, put-down, crack, wisecrack
1.2 informal, chiefly North American A murder, typically one planned and carried out by a criminal organization: some of the killings were contract hits
More example sentences
  • He had been offered $50,000 to carry out the hit, and was jailed for life for the contract killing.
  • Mr Hale claims he has also received underworld information which points to the murder being a professional hit.
  • There was no secret as to the identity of the organisation that carried out the hits or its demands.
1.3 Baseball short for base hit.
Example sentences
  • In game two, pitcher Alisha Seifert '05 scattered three hits leading to the complete-game shutout of the Knights.
  • He threw only 21 of 42 pitches for strikes, allowed three hits and walked three.
  • Greinke, who allowed just four hits and struck out five, left with a 1-lead.
2An instance of striking the target aimed at: one of the bombers had scored a direct hit
More example sentences
  • Results were impressive with the longest bomb only 50 ft away from the target and many direct hits.
  • Two of the targets received direct hits from above, while the rest were sprayed by numerous fragments.
  • The Gardai have scored some direct hits against the dealers in recent weeks.
2.1 Computing An instance of identifying an item of data which matches the requirements of a search.
Example sentences
  • One of the articles gives the botanical name of St. John's wort; she searches on that term; this search results in eight hits.
  • Also, there appears to be a strange priorization thing going on with hits during a search.
  • And there are fewer than a hundred hits when searching for anything in the field.
2.2 Computing An instance of a particular website being accessed by a user: the site gets an average 350,000 hits a day
More example sentences
  • The Napster case must have increased the music service's hit rate.
  • A few accolades for a well written, yet vitriolic post, a few extra hits, a few more readers.
  • In fact, the contract with the advertiser may specify that payment is by results, measured by hits or clickthroughs.
3A successful venture, especially a film, pop record, or song: he was the director of many big hits [as modifier]: a hit album
More example sentences
  • He is the man behind some of the biggest hits in the Malayalam film industry.
  • This was followed, in the 1940s, by a succession of cartoon film hits: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi.
  • So if I win for a role, and if the film is a big hit, I can share it with everybody.
success, box-office success, sell-out, winner, triumph, sensation;
French tour de force
informal knockout, crowd-puller, smash, smash hit, smasher, cracker, wow, biggie
3.1 informal A successful and popular person or thing: he’s proving to be a big hit with the fans
More example sentences
  • Not all your designs have been immediate hits.
  • Immediate hits with both travelers and the industry, Web fares weren't even part of the airlines' original plan.
  • Despite the aerodynamic challenges, the car ran very fast and was a big hit with the fans.
4 informal A dose of a narcotic drug: in another hour, I’ll need another hit
More example sentences
  • One night he took a bong hit of a dried plant, and it nearly killed him.
  • This can whack up the crime rate big time as people steel and commit offences to pay for the next hit.
  • But if we start to legalese soft drugs then people will move onto a bigger hit and we will have a more violent society.




Pronunciation: /ˌhɪtənˈmɪs/
Done or occurring at random: picking a remedy can be a bit hit-and-miss
More example sentences
  • The best pics are the first ones I ever took, using a kids' easel, my old 35 mm SLR and hit-and-miss natural light out in the yard.
  • Dessert in this part of town can be hit-and-miss.
  • The novels are hit-and-miss affairs, but they have an unforgettable pungency.

hit someone below the belt

Give one’s opponent an illegal low blow.
Example sentences
  • The bout turned nasty in the fourth, when Johnson - for the second time in the fight - hit Ruiz below the belt with a hard left hook.
  • He described Dube as a ‘dirty’ boxer who was always hitting him below the belt and throwing punches after the bell.
  • Then Machimane hit Nel below the belt and the fight was temporarily stopped to give the champion time to recover.
2.1Behave unfairly to someone, especially so as to gain an unfair advantage.
Example sentences
  • If all of them are forced to pay royalty for every song they sing, they will be hit below the belt.
  • ‘Pattni appears to have hit Kenya below the belt at a time when the country was at its weakest,’ wrote the East African Standard.
  • Carly is hurt by the comment and it hits her below the belt.

hit the bottle

see bottle.

hit someone for six

see six.
Example sentences
  • Luckily I was prepared but the shock of what had taken place hit me for six on the journey back to Taupo.
  • Just another reminder of how something can suddenly hit you for six, emotionally, when you live abroad.
  • It was obvious that the carbon monoxide had hit her for six, but now things were sliding out of control.

hit the ground running

informal Start something and proceed at a fast pace with great enthusiasm.
Example sentences
  • While he did not trap that fast he certainly hit the ground running to scorch away from his opponents around the opening turn.
  • Once again he hit the ground running and his early pace had him clear of his rivals before the bend.
  • They hit the ground running and demonstrate leadership qualities at a faster rate.

hit the hay

see hay1.

hit home

see home.

hit it off

informal Be naturally friendly or well suited.
Example sentences
  • He was glad his friends were hitting it off with Kelly, especially since the start of her day had been kinda rough.
  • She met this guy Tim at a party of a mutual friend and seemed to hit it off.
  • So they decided to bombard me with personal questions about my best friend, and we hit it off at once.
get on well, get on, get along, be on good terms, be friends, be friendly, be compatible, relate well to each other, feel a rapport, see eye to eye, take to each other, warm to each other, find things in common
informal click, get on like a house on fire, be on the same wavelength

hit the jackpot


hit the mark

Be successful in an attempt or accurate in a guess: her suggestion was a guess, but his reaction confirmed that it had hit the mark
More example sentences
  • It doesn't quite hit the mark, but the attempt is often engrossing.
  • In addition, his attempts at sarcasm do not always hit the mark; some come off as confusing and inappropriate.
  • Fewer than 150 schools across the whole country managed the same results with all 37 pupils at Sacred Heart hitting the mark.
have the intended effect, make the intended impression, strike home, hit the mark, be registered, be understood, be comprehended, get through, sink in

hit the nail on the head

Find exactly the right answer.
Example sentences
  • These guys seem to have a knack for hitting the nail on the head, and their newest creation is as short and sweet as they come.
  • Mark Grahame hits the nail on the head with his comments about the new breed of ultra-loud fireworks.
  • And the piece you sent me really hits the nail on the head.


Pronunciation: /ˌhɪtɔːˈmɪs/
As likely to be unsuccessful as successful: most drugs on the market have been found by hit-or-miss methods
More example sentences
  • He said most intelligence-led drug raids were ‘very basic in nature, involving a hit-or-miss strategy.’
  • It's just that your actions can be a little hit-or-miss.
  • Mexican dining in Montreal is pretty hit-or-miss.
haphazard, disorganized, undisciplined, erratic, unmethodical, uneven, careless, slapdash, slipshod, casual, offhand, remiss, cursory, lackadaisical, perfunctory, random, aimless, undirected, indiscriminate, trial-and-error
informal sloppy, all over the place, slap-happy
British informal all over the shop

hit the right note

see note.

hit the road (or North American trail)

informal Set out on a journey.
Example sentences
  • We hit the road and thankfully the journey was incident free.
  • Sunday after Sunday, Dermot and his friends hit the road and no journey was too long.
  • So I spent a large chunk of the morning asleep, waking for a very light lunch before hitting the road.

hit the roof

see roof.

hit the sack

see sack1.

hit the spot

see spot.

hit wicket

Cricket The action of a batsman stepping on or knocking over their own wicket, resulting in their dismissal.
Example sentences
  • Which batsman has been hit wicket most often in Tests?
  • Sodhi hit wicket b Madan 51 Attempted to cut off the back foot but went too far back and struck the stumps with his bat.
  • Warne was out in remarkable circumstances, when he trod on his stumps and was out hit wicket for 42.

make a hit

Be successful or popular: you made a big hit with their daughter
More example sentences
  • ‘Calvin Klein's shared fragrance made a hit, and many clothes with the same design are worn by both men and women,’ Kan said.
  • His credentials have great appeal among ACT voters, and the fact he has made a hit in the polls has also damaged ACT.
  • Another British car import makes a hit with performances that are off the charts.

Phrasal verbs


hit on

1 (also hit upon) Discover or think of, especially by chance: she hit on a novel idea for fund-raising
More example sentences
  • Substitute ‘fire’ for ‘water’ in Robbins' hypothesis and we may be hitting upon a parallel discovery.
  • Whether it was by chance or design Sam Allardyce has hit upon the strike force he has craved all season.
  • They hit upon the idea of creating a rare type of red hair dye and offering it for sale in small quantities.
discover, come up with, think of, conceive of, dream up, work out, invent, create, originate, develop, devise, design, pioneer, uncover, contrive, realize;
stumble on, chance on, light on, come upon, blunder on, arrive at
informal put one's finger on
2North American Make sexual advances towards: he was really hitting on me, with steamy looks and innuendos
More example sentences
  • If he persists, however, in hitting on you and continuing with the suggestive remarks, then, indeed, you have a harassment case.
  • But in our keeping in touch that summer, he started hitting on me.
  • My best friend's boyfriend keeps hitting on me and everyone thinks it's a joke!

hit someone up

North American informal Ask someone for something, typically money: he hit up some family members I have an employee who is always hitting me up for a raise
More example sentences
  • Suddenly, they can have resources equal to an incumbent's without hitting up major donors.
  • Most recently, she'd hit her parents up for $1,600 to fix her kids' teeth.
  • Second, I've become paranoid that everyone I know who is short of cash will hit me up for a loan.
[usually in imperative]2.1 Contact someone: if you have a serious band and would like to play some music, hit me up


Late Old English hittan (in the sense 'come upon, find'), from Old Norse hitta 'come upon, meet with', of unknown origin.

  • The earliest sense of hit, in the Old English period, was ‘to come upon, meet with, find’. Popular successes, first of all plays, and then songs, have been called hits since the beginning of the 19th century. In the 1990s the phrase to hit the ground running became something of a cliché. It seems to refer to soldiers disembarking rapidly from a helicopter, though no one has been able to trace it back to any particular conflict. Marksmanship and shooting are behind a number of phrases, including to hit the mark, ‘to be successful in an attempt or accurate in a guess’ and hit-and-miss ‘done or occurring at random’, which is more understandable in its earlier form hit-or-miss (early 17th century).

Words that rhyme with hit

acquit, admit, backlit, bedsit, befit, bit, Brit, Britt, chit, commit, demit, dit, emit, fit, flit, frit, git, grit, intermit, it, kit, knit, legit, lickety-split, lit, manumit, mishit, mitt, nit, omit, outsit, outwit, permit, pit, Pitt, pretermit, quit, remit, retrofit, sit, skit, slit, snit, spit, split, sprit, squit, submit, transmit, twit, whit, wit, writ, zit

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hit

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